Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced that on February 22, 2013, Mary Barnett-Johnson, 51, of Mount Vernon, Illinois, pled guilty to Theft of Government Funds as charged in a one count indictment returned on December 11, 2012, by a Federal Grand Jury sitting in East St. Louis, Illinois. Theft of Government Funds carries a statutory maximum possible punishment of up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, a period of supervised release of up to three years and the payment of a $100 special assessment. Sentencing is scheduled for May 30, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. in United States District Court in Benton, Illinois.
During her plea, Barnett- Johnson admitted that she had fraudulently continued to receive and use her deceased mother’s social security benefits knowing that she was not entitled to receive or use those funds for her own personal benefit. Barnett-Johnson admitted that she received $85,353 in social security payments from August of 2003 through September of 2011 that were intended for her mother who died in 2003.
The investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ranley R. Killian.